Meet Hannah McDonough and Taylor Rulien

Staff Geologist Hannah McDonough and GIS Analyst Taylor Rulien recently joined our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Hannah McDonough - Staff Geologist

 Hannah sailing in the Puget Sound

Hannah sailing in the Puget Sound

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I grew up in a log cabin on a dirt road in Vermont. As a kid, I cross-country skied, hiked, and tapped maple trees right outside my front door. I gained an appreciation for the natural world, which led me to study geology at the University of Rochester in New York. During field camp in Wyoming, I realized that I needed to be in the west to get a better sense of active geology. I went on to study at Utah State University and eventually found work in environmental consulting. I’ve stayed for the sushi, mountains, and water.
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? 
    On a field trip in high school, we visited a local mountain and observed glacial striations in the large granitic bedrock. I was so taken by the power of earth’s movements around me, that I had to figure out how this happened and what other wonders are out there to explore. I felt right at home in the geology department since we got to dig up fossils and hike out to coal mines in Pennsylvania.
     
  3.  What do you like best about your area of expertise? 
    I am drawn to the results of environmental consulting. It is very rewarding to work on projects across the state and a few years later point out, “that’s a place where I made a small improvement in this corner of the world.” I also enjoy the travel. I’ve seen more of Washington State during site visits than some locals see in a lifetime. It’s a great way to learn more about this dynamic state.
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
    I took a year off from consulting and delved into the sailing world. I enjoy harnessing the power of the wind to explore new places and familiar places from a new perspective. I am also an amateur violinist, and love to jam with friends and family.
     
  5. If you could be onstage with any musical artist living or dead, who would it be?
    Andrew Bird is my musical hero. It’d be a dream to be on stage fiddling and whistling with him.

Taylor Rulien - GIS Analyst

 Taylor lounging on the north ridge of Mt. Stuart in Washington's central Cascades

Taylor lounging on the north ridge of Mt. Stuart in Washington's central Cascades

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I was born and raised in Alaska, this gave me a love for the outdoors but also a need to explore different states due to the isolation. I’ve since lived across the West from Oregon, California, Colorado, and now Washington. Washington has hit a good balance for me between the excitement of having a large city to the vast mountainous wilderness – I plan on calling this place home for a long time.
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue GIS? 
    I’ve always been fascinated by maps and GIS is a great way to keep that alive. With the large amount of spatial data available through our smartphones and other devices, there is a growing need and ability for exciting spatial analysis.
     
  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    GIS is such a broad discipline, this allows me to continue to learn different skillsets from automation through programming, cartography, application development, and more complicated analysis.
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    I like doing anything in the outdoors. You’ll find me either climbing rocks, ice, or trail running in the mountains and enjoying a post IPA and burger at the closest brewery. Let me know if you are ever interested in an outdoor activity!
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
    There are dozens of places that I would love to travel to in the world but going back to Spain might be the most realistic and exciting for me. There are numerous world class climbing destinations!